Des Moines Water Works’ Lawsuit May Be Slow to Change Agriculture

If you’ve been following the Water Blog, you know that consistently high nitrate levels found in both the Des Moines and Raccoon Rivers has forced Des Moines Water Works to consider litigation against three Iowa counties. Unregulated agricultural runoff from Calhoun, Sac, and Buena Vista counties in Northwest Iowa have, according to Water Works CEO Bill Stowe, largely contributed to the Des Moines Metro area’s nitrate-contaminated water supply.

(Read our previous blog posts related to Des Moines’ water quality, rising nitrate levels, and Water Works’ initial announcement to pursue litigation.)

Litigation Over Contaminated Water

In 2013, Des Moines Water Works’ consumers paid almost $1 million in nitrate filtration costs. The nitrate filtration facility was activated again in December to purify the water, and costs $4,000 to $7,000 a day to operate.

Stowe is quoted in the Des Moines Register saying, “We have to deliver water within the safe drinking water requirements on a daily basis. It’s costing our customers a lot of money, and it’s putting us in a position where we have to plan to build more of those [filtration] plants to keep up with the numbers that we’re seeing.”

The pending lawsuit has received criticism from the farming community, including from Governor Terry Branstad and U.S. Senator Joni Ernst who claim voluntary compliance is a much better solution. If Water Works has a successful lawsuit, critics say any regulations will be nearly impossible to enforce. Iowa’s 3,000 drainage districts cover 9 million acres—nearly one quarter of the entire state. Testing each tile line and making sure Iowa farmers are in compliance would be a very difficult task.

Dangers of Contaminated Water

Water pollution is one thing your family should never have to worry about. Unfortunately, pollution such as nitrate contamination can cause serious damage to your health, particularly for infants and young children. High nitrate levels found in the water may cause blue baby syndrome and have had links to miscarriages and some cancers.
Crystal Clear Water already complies with the highest-quality water safety standards. Our water has zero nitrates due to our thorough purification process. If you live in Des Moines, Waukee, Ankeny, Indianola or the surrounding areas, stop worrying about the quality of your water. The solution is clear—call us today for residential and commercial bottled water and water filtration services.